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Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Launch Ground Breaking Aged Eroica Riesling Program

Mar 06, 2012

Among Old World Riesling producers of Europe, Riesling is renowned for its capacity to age beautifully for decades. For centuries, aged Rieslings have been the benchmark of quality. This spring, Eroica, a partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle of Washington and Dr. Loosen estate of the Mosel, will be among the first American Riesling producers to offer aged vintages for the U.S. marketplace when it re-releases its 2007 Eroica Riesling, which has been cellared for an additional five years of bottle age and 2001 Eroica Single Berry Select ten years post-vintage. Starting in March, Eroica (Chateau Ste. Michelle) will re-release a limited quantity of 2007 Eroica Riesling to restaurants in select markets across the country, including New York, Washington DC, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland and Northern and Southern California.

“In Germany we have a long tradition of drinking aged Riesling,” says Ernst Loosen, owner and winemaker of Dr. Loosen estate. “It is important to show the U.S. how beautiful mature Riesling can be, especially with food like Asian and Indian curries. We want to demonstrate the versatility of Riesling, not only that they can be made from dry to fruity styles, but also that Riesling can be aged for decades.”

Eroica’s aged Rieslings are ground-breaking for New World Riesling and a milestone for the special partnership of Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen that began in 1999. Winemakers Bob Bertheau and Ernst Loosen have worked shoulder to shoulder to identify cool sites at higher elevations and transform Riesling viticulture practices to allow for long hang time, the period late in the growing season when fully ripened Riesling grapes develop maximum aromas and flavors without excess sugars while retaining high acid and low pH – factors essential to aging.

“Chateau Ste. Michelle has a rich 45-year history with Riesling,” says Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau. “We were the first to offer a high-end Riesling when we introduced Eroica a decade ago and the first North American producer to make a TBA style Riesling with Single Berry Select. It is only fitting that we continue to break new ground by offering an aged Riesling for the U.S. market.”

View a video of Bob Bertheau and Ernst Loosen discussing the aged Eroica project. Video Link

The winery is supporting the re-release with select trade tastings in key markets, including hosting a Riesling seminar at the recent South Beach Wine and Food Festival on Feb. 26.

Young Eroica vintages show beautiful bright fruit with crisp acidity and enhanced minerality. The 2010 Eroica Riesling exudes fragrant aromas of mandarin peel and white peach with underlying mineral notes and acidity on the palate, the ‘Eroica style’. Over time, the wine begins to evolve and mature. The 2007 Eroica Riesling , still showing the crisp acidity of the 2007 vintage, is becoming drier and more complex and intense on the palate accompanied by lemon rind, dried apricot, spice and secondary bottle-aged aromas.

2001 Eroica Single Berry Select Riesling is an ultra rich, concentrated yet elegant wine with intense aromas of dried apricot, honey and sweet spice. Appealing flavors of ripe pineapple, white peach and honey are complemented by a long smooth finish tinged with clove. With more than a decade of age, the wine is taking on a beautiful amber gold color.

The winery plans to make this an annual program, releasing the new Eroica vintage along with a 5-year aged Eroica Riesling each year.

Chateau Ste. Michelle has championed Riesling for nearly 45 years and was among the first to plant Riesling in Washington state. Ste. Michelle was catapulted into the national spotlight when its 1972 Johannisberg Riesling won the now-famous Riesling blind tasting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in 1974. Today, Chateau Ste. Michelle offers up to eight different Rieslings, each showcasing the versatility of Riesling and the regional styles within Washington’s Columbia Valley, which produces more Riesling than any other American wine region.

The Dr. Loosen estate in Germany’s Mosel Valley has produced fine Riesling for over two centuries. In 1999, Ernst Loosen approached Chateau Ste. Michelle with the idea of joining forces after discovering the winery’s Cold Creek Riesling. The result, Eroica, has been the benchmark for American luxury Riesling for more than a decade.

Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.

Lynda Eller

Indian Wells label on bottle